Can a child born out of wedlock inherit from a father’s estate?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Probate And Estate Administration |

If your parents were never together in a marriage, then you may wonder if you have any claim to your father’s estate when he dies. You may especially worry if you did not have a close relationship with your father or if your father had a spouse and other children.

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, if your father dies without a will, you may still have a claim to his estate. It depends on how you can prove paternity.

Already determined

If your parents legalized paternity after they had you, then you should have no worries. You will have the same rights as a child born to parents who were in a marriage with each other.


If your father treated you as his child, despite legal paternity, then you have a valid claim. The court will consider how close you were. If your father visited with you often and treated you in a way a father would treat a child, that shows the court he assumed the position of your parent. Do note the court requires clear evidence that your father treated you as his child for this to be enough to prove paternity.


If at any time your parents did marry after your birth, this can solidify you as his child. You will get the rights of a child.


If you have evidence from a test or a court order that shows paternity, then you can use this to make a claim on his estate.

You may need to go to probate court and prove your paternity if someone else is disputing your relationship. Make sure you have the evidence on hand to show the court and prove your case.